Hello Nikki! I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and instantly fell in love! Now I finally have a question to ask, and I am really excited.
I realized that I get bored with my wardrobe very easily. I have a lot of clothing, but end up only wearing one pair of pants and three T-shirts (a bit exaggerated) I know that lots of people say you need certain basics in your wardrobe, but I find my wardrobe too basic. How can I spice up my wardrobe so that I’ll begin wearing everything? How do I know if I am making a purchase that will last long, and won’t just be a one-time thing? I am 1.64 m tall and have a curvy figure. I wear a lot of baggy shirts and sweaters are my favorite thing in the world! I wear a lot of black and grey, but have been trying to bring more pastel colors into the mix. I really want to look stylish like those Asian fashion girls on Tumblr, but I just don’t know how. I have long, brown hair and brown eyes. Please help me to be able to use my wardrobe better!
Maja, 18/Berlin, Germany
I really like the two questions you posed, Maja. Being smarter and more eco-conscious shoppers and consumers is something we should all think about. I do know how difficult it is to resist retail therapy, especially at your age when trends are a major influence in your outfit choices. But never let it be said that Nikki doesn’t try her best!
“How do I know if I am making a purchase that will last long,
and won’t just be a one-time thing?”
Let me answer this question first. You’re probably aware by now that fashion is essentially cyclical. Some trends only last a season or two at best while some become mainstream, like skinny jeans. Some classic pieces get updated, which gives them a fresh look and they become covetable again, like Adidas’ Stan Smiths. Others become a trend due to the influence of a high-profile figure like Kate Middleton, for example.
Sharp shoulders are so 2010 but skinny jeans still literally rule.
Adidas made the Stan Smiths of the 1970s the must-have sneaker of the millennium.
Images: Stan Smith Originals, Adidas.com; Kate Middleton, VanityFair.com
Thus, the answer is to shift your focus from buying trendy clothing to more classic pieces. These classics are basically given a makeover every few years or so with embellishments, a different cut or silhouette, or a change in fabric. Then it all becomes new again!
“How can I spice up my wardrobe so that I’ll begin wearing everything?” is another good question. The thing is, if you keep wearing baggy shirts and sweaters, and gray and black all the time, then you’ll be bored with your closet quickly. As you grow older, your fashion preferences will also change, and you’ll wonder why the heck did you wear sack-like sweaters every day at eighteen.
Good clothes that fit your shape is a major factor to consider if you really want to change your mindset. Once you have a good capsule wardrobe, you only need to update it every so often with seasonal essentials and occasional statement pieces which can be in the form of accessories. The illustration on the left should sum it up perfectly.
Simple Works Best: Plain T-Shirts & Button-Down Shirts
Often the simplest clothes are the ones that buck the trends. Button-down shirts are always a favorite — whether in a relaxed, boyfriend style, or a simple oxford version. Those 3-pack tees are budget-friendly, and you can get them in different neutral combos like black, gray, white and navy blue. Pro tip: Check the menswear section, too, because I find that sometimes their fit is better. At YesStyle, we also carry other colored versions which should round out your T-shirt options.
With button-downs, you can get them with or without darts, and in the colors and patterns you want. These pieces are great for rocking an instant smart-casual or preppy style, even with jeans or shorts, plus sneakers or sandals. Invest in a pretty blouse that you can wear for special occasions. It may even be in plain black but the fabric should be outstanding so you only need some choice accessories like a necklace and earrings to make it glamorous.
The classic white shirt done in different ways.
Hit the Bottom Line: Skirts & Pants
Petites like us look better with knee-length or above-the-knee skirts so make sure these go on your list. A-line skirts and dresses are figure-friendly and work with anything, while a mini skirt is a great and playful option, whether you’re 18 or 38.
I’ll leave the choice of jeans up to you, because I’m sure you have a lot. Again, please consider fit AND inseam. There’s nothing more off-putting than seeing jeans that aren’t hemmed properly. Add flat-front pants to your essentials because these are wonderful to have. If you’re going somewhere swanky and don’t want to wear a dress, go for a menswear look, which means you have to wear the right pants. Go for a slim-leg silhouette if it suits your lower body because they’ll hug curves but won’t be too tight. Flat-fronts go with ballet flats, preppy loafers, white sneakers, stiletto pumps and even Doc Martens.
Finishing Touches: Accessories, Outerwear & Shoes
Add-ons like shoes and accessories round out your outfit. In some instances, the accessory can be your statement piece — like a striking choker to complement an off-shoulder blouse, or saucy red patent heels to draw attention to an all-white ensemble. Using color contrast is one of the tried-and-tested ways to update your look even if you’re wearing one single color, and none of your clothes are new.
Seasonal outerwear also makes an outfit pop. Tying a bright red cardigan around the shoulders of your striped boatneck tee instantly flashes “cool nautical.” A leather jacket looks edgy with a plain eyelet dress or denim mini skirt.
These are only a few suggestions, Maja, and I have every confidence that you’ll come up with your own closet essentials. Good luck!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!
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